Chipotle Mexican Grill announced Thursday that the fast-casual chain would begin offering debt-free college degrees for employees in related fields, including agriculture, culinary, supply chain, and hospitality. The program — which is open to all employees that have worked at the company for at least four months — offers 100 different degree options at 10 universities including the University of Arizona, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University, and the University of Denver.
Chipotle covers all costs — including tuition — up-front for these debt-free programs for select degrees and colleges, the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company further explained.
These new education opportunities build upon what Chipotle already offers employees through their Cultivate Education program, like covering 100% of tuition for 75 different business and technology degrees through Guild, which was introduced in 2019, and imbursing employees for up to $5,250 per year for their college tuition.
“Diversifying our debt-free degree program with new majors and partner universities makes our educational benefits even more inclusive,” Marissa Andrada, chief diversity, inclusion and people officer at Chipotle said in a statement. “Through our partnership with Guild, we are committed to accelerating our employees’ professional growth and helping them achieve personal success by offering opportunities to pursue career paths in their particular area of interest.”
The eligible degrees are in fields that relate to Chipotle’s purpose and mission as a planet-friendly foodservice company. Starting April 13, for example, would-be students can enroll in Oregon State University’s agriculture program. Chipotle has previously announced financial support for small and mid-sized farms (committing $5 million over the next five years) and says that encouraging the next generation of farmers is crucial, especially since there are “more than six times as many farmers aged 65 and older as there are farmers under the age of 34.”
Students can also begin to earn culinary bachelor’s degrees from Johnson and Wales University later this year and will also offer access to more supply chain programs with Oregon State University and the University of Denver.
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